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Island Mele: ‘Summer Love,’ ‘Flyght 808′
REVIEWS BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
Summer (Hawaii Entertainment Group)
Jamaican-style rhythms and a Jawaiian ambiance prevails as expatriate island girl Summer — she now lives in Los Angeles; Kapolei remembers her as Summer Eguchi — builds on the local success of her digital single, “My Mister,” with this professionally produced CD.
With George “Fiji” Veikoso, Laga Savea, Imua Garza and LA-based Andrew Lane as her producers and writing partners, Summer has all the professional guidance needed to make a good first impression. Give Summer credit due for her contributions as a co-writer and for having an appealing voice that’s worthy of a national audience.
The predominance of Jawaiian pop songs suggests that her label is positioning her primarily as a Hawaii artist, but several pop songs show that she also has mainstream potential. “Straight Ahead” is one of them; co-written with Fiji, Laga Savea and K’Nova, it closes the album on a stirring inspirational note.
A formulaic remake of “Follow Your Road” brings no new ideas to Seawind’s signature hit, but a Jawaiian-pop reworking of “Fallin’ In Love” puts the Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds hit in a different context gender-wise and makes it fresh for a new generation.
I.A. (Jordan Salud)
I.A.’s last album, “Beyond Paradise,” released in 2011, was certainly Hoku Award-worthy local hip-hop, but didn’t win the Hoku. This one is just as worthy. The approach is classic hip-hop and reminiscent in a couple of places of early LL Cool J. The insights and lyric snapshots of local living are original and true-to-life.
Take “Summertyme,” where I.A. stacks up references to the local landmarks, popular food items and social customs that define the scene. Other songs reinforce that sense of place — shave ice, the “winter swell wave heights” and a smattering of the Hawaiian words everybody here uses. There’s also an ear-catching line about “cracking coconuts with your grandmama’s dentures.”
“Flyght 808” also contains straight-up positive content.
“My attitude is underdog / But I’m feeling like a champion,” I.A. announces in “Go The Distance.” The entire song is about confidence and self-affirmation.
I.A. reveals his appreciation of vintage rock when he reworks the hook phrase of Buffalo Springfield’s signature hit, “For What It’s Worth,” into an original love story.
Osna (aka Osnizzle), producer of “Beyond Paradise,” shares those duties with several others this time around, but appears as a guest performer on three tracks as well.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.